When I was young, one of my favourite TV programs was the detective series Columbo with Peter Falk. If you are old like me, you probably remember the original; if you’re not then maybe you have seen re-runs on various TV channels.
Columbo was always famous for two things – his crumpled old beige raincoat and his ability to always nail the perpetrator. But it was how he nailed the perp which was the best bit and it never changed from program to program.
Columbo would always go and interrogate the suspect and would finish the interrogation and go to leave the room, leaving the suspect to breathe a huge sigh of relief thinking they had got away with it. But then, with one hand on the door handle, he would turn back to the suspect and say “just one more thing” and he would ask them a final question – and that question was always the killer question – the one which always nailed the suspect which resulted in them being dragged off to jail.
So when selling and when you meet a prospect, I want you to be like Columbo. As you finish the meeting and are just about to leave, with one hand on the door handle, I want you to turn back to the prospect and say, “Just one more thing” – the killer question! And it should be this….”once we have implemented our solution, how will you measure success – how will you judge that this project has been a successful project?”
Sales is all about making your customer successful. But you can’t make your customer successful unless you see success through their eyes! Understand their metrics for success and make them your metrics for success.
In sales, your reason d’etre is not only to make your customer successful, but for you to become a ‘broker of strength’. A Broker of Strength is somebody who exceeds their customers expectations every time and was a term coined by Tom Snyder and Kevin Kearns in their book “Escaping the price driven sale”.
You cannot exceed your customers expectations if you don’t know them.
Successful selling is about working with your customer to set the metrics for success and once set, those metrics must be measured, met and ideally exceeded.
Oh, and just one more thing……you can find re-runs of Columbo on Me-TV!